Father keeps working to reduce DUI stats

Local News

ILLINOIS — A Springfield man, who lost his son to a drunk driver more than a decade ago, wants stricter DUI laws.

A recent study shows the state received a good grade when it comes to DUI arrests, however, some say not enough is being dong to prevent them.

“Cost four boys’ lives to be turned upside down forever. One lost his life, paid an ultimate price. Is it really worth it?”

For Dennis Pryor, he advocates that every day: Is it worth it? Worth getting behind the wheel while under the influence?

In 2003, Pryor lost his 18-year old son, Timothy, after four boys got in a car and drove away after a night of drinking.

“It still hurts.”

Timothy was the only one killed in the accident. He left behind a 6-month old baby girl.

“That Saturday night, he left our home around 8:30, bent down to kiss his daughter goodbye. Never once did we think that would be his last goodbye.”

After 14-years, Pryor says it never gets easier knowing his son’s death could have been prevented.

A study conducted by Backgroundchecks.org ranks Illinois 48th with the fewest number of DUI problems. Factors such as number of DUI fatalities, arrests and other deaths on state roads help determine the ranking.

“It’s very intense on the law enforcement officers. Sometimes, it’s the court system that causes the law enforcement to say, ‘Why should I spend eight hours doing this paperwork if it’s going to get tossed out in court?'”

Pryor says law enforcement isn’t to blame; it’s a person’s choice to get behind the wheel in the first place.

“It brings on undue anger. People, in my case, I forgave the driver. I don’t feel like I could harbor any more anger. I totally understood that my son made a choice.”

Over the past few years, lawmakers have taken action hoping to reduce DUI fatalities. Some changes include requiring people with two or more DUI’s to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

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